Reflections on Policy
Although mathematics is essential to mathematics-education, and mathematics-education is essential to mathematics, these claims do NOT imply that mathematics and mathematics-education are the same. Actually, they are gradually growing apart. This chapter summarizes the views of its authors on the relationship between the mathematics and mathematics-education communities with respect to policy issues believed to be important to both communities.
One argues that the professional object for mathematics teachers should be viewed as the teaching and learning of mathematics rather than mathematics in itself. Knowledge and experiences from mathematics as a discipline is necessary but not sufficient to form sustainable policy. Hence policy should benefit from being informed by mathematics-education research to a larger extend that currently.
Another view states that instructional policy is only as good as its translation to classroom practice. Without appropriate support for teachers to make the significant changes in classroom instruction being asked of them, curricular initiatives are bound to fail. Mathematicians and mathematics educators can and should collaborate to provide support to teachers in implementation of good mathematics teaching.
Yet another claim is that unlike mathematics, mathematics-education is an applied social science, and therefore research in it should be judged to a large extent, by the successful implementation of its outcome.
Last but not least is a view of mathematics and mathematics-education as two quite different areas of study, attributing many of the disputes that have arisen between mathematicians and mathematics educators with regard to what school mathematics should be, to these differences.
In conclusion, it seems necessary for the mathematics-education community and the mathematic community at large, to join forces and formulate a core of common agreements, upon which decision makers can be held accountable. Indeed, a difficult task, however without it there seem to be no hope for progress in the desired commonly agreed goal to improve the outcome of mathematics-education.
KeywordsAccountability Classroom instruction Curriculum Curriculum change Experimental school teaching Mathematics-education Mathematics-education research Mathematics-education practice Pedagogical content knowledge Policy Policy issues in mathematics-education Relationship between mathematics and mathematics-education Teacher knowledge Teacher education
- ASSM (1995). Assessment standards for school mathematics. NCTM—National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA. Google Scholar
- CESSM (1989). Curriculum and evaluation standards for school mathematics. NCTM—National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA. Google Scholar
- Dreyfus, T., & Eisenberg, T. (1986). On the aesthetics of mathematical thought. For the Learning of Mathematics, 6(1), 2–10. Google Scholar
- Franklin, C., Kader, C., Mewborn, D., Moreno, J., Peck, R., Perry, M., & Scheaffer, R. (2007). Guidelines for assessment and instruction in statistics education (GAISE) report: a pre-K-12 curriculum framework. Alexandria: Am. Statist. Assoc. Google Scholar
- Graeber, A., & Tirosh, D. (2008). Pedagogical content knowledge: useful concept or elusive notion. In P. Sullivan & T. Wood (Eds.), The international handbook of mathematics teacher education (Vol. 1, pp. 117–132). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Google Scholar
- Gutfreund, H., & Rosenberg, Y. (Eds.) (2012). Knowledge and training of secondary school mathematics teachers—a report of the committee on the knowledge-base for teaching mathematics. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. http://education.academy.ac.il/English/PublicationDetails.aspx?FromHomePage=true&PublicationID=27. Accessed 12 June 2013. Google Scholar
- Movshovitz-Hadar, N. (1988). School mathematics theorems—an endless source of surprise. For the Learning of Mathematics, 8(3), 34–40. Google Scholar
- Movshovitz-Hadar, N. (1993). The false coin problem, mathematical induction and knowledge fragility. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 12, 253–268. Google Scholar
- PSSM (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. NCTM—National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA. Google Scholar
- PSTM (1991). Professional standards for teaching mathematics. NCTM—National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA. Google Scholar